||[Jul. 11th, 2008|05:08 pm]
A view of the forest: a view of the Bandipur forest from Gopalswamy Betta, Karnataka.
The cool weather and the views from the temple compound are enough to make a trip to Gopalswamy Betta worthwhile: on one side is a view of the plains that the road comes up from, on another side lie a few grassy hills that are part of the same range of hills and the view from behind the temple is of the tree covered thick forests of Bandipur. We went there on a day-trip last Saturday.
Following a board and taking a right turn at a village between Gundlepet and Bandipur we were on the road to the hill with sunflower fields scattered here and there along the way. A forest department checkpost at the base of the hill is where you pay the requisite fee to enter and submit to a check for alcohol(which is not permitted beyond the checkpost). A fairly steep road makes it way up from the plains to the temple which is a little more than 1400m above MSL. A cool breeze welcomes us at the top even though it is close to noon and there is a queue to enter the temple. The queue does not seem to be moving at all and no one seems to be coming out the temple either making us wonder what was happening inside. Once inside we find that the darshan happens in batches with the pujari giving a brief history of the temple and showing the various statues inside the sanctum sanctorium; his voice sounds like a old-tape player, barely audible and sometimes repeating what you have already managed to hear as he walks by you; a huge board just outside the temple completes the information that you almost didn't hear inside. We take a walk on a few paths behind the temple to appreciate the views and the views are great; we see a path leading to another grassy hill but there is already a person posted on the way to stop people from venturing away into the surrounding areas.
Our other action for the day was the search for Badam Halwa in Mysore, not at any place but at a drive-in restaurant where we had tried it on previous trips. The first time was on on the way back from Coorg when the restaurant had been recommended to us for the food but the Badam Halwa there had turned out to be excellent. So on another trip when we came to Mysore from Tadiyendamol, Chandan and I had stopped by here. Since we were going through Mysore this time too, we went on a search for the restaurant on the way to Gopalswamy Betta. Having remembered that it was on a road perpendicular to the main road that came down from the railway station, we ended up spending some time looking at all the cross-roads, but in vain, and ended up having breakfast at another restaurant on the way where the food was bad. Of course we were not done with our search as we tried once more on the way back; this time Chandan was sure of the name of the restaurant, we asked a auto driver near the bus-stand and after thinking about it for a few seconds he gave us directions: down from the railway station and right on the third signal! It turned out this was the one road we had not checked for Ramya restaurant earlier. Ashvin, Chandan and I ended up finishing four packets then and there and packing twenty-six packets among ourselves to take home.